A conversation with Jörgen Vogt
It’s very interesting to see what’s happening in the wing sport, so I was very happy to have a phone call with the general secretary of the GWA. (Global Wingsport Assocciation) In this sense many thanks to Dr. Jörgen Vogt (lawyer), General Secretary and co-founder of the GWA.
It was a conversation that could not have been more interesting. Especially against the background of the failures in SUP Sport, the plan of the GWA seemed to be just too perfect. It became clear to me once again why SUP Sport has not managed to organize itself properly until today.
Jörgen explained to me that they were already working on the foundation in February. But there were a few things to be clarified and that’s why they did not go public until June. They made a clear decision to form a separate body and not to integrate the sport into the GKA (Global Kitesport Assocciation). In my opinion, a very wise decision and obviously the interest of the GKA was not very big. It was the cardinal mistake that the SUP community made when they did not organize themselves independently. SUP was neither canoeing nor surfing and therefore none of the administrative bodies took care of the sport properly. The people who should have created their own international SUP Association did not exist and those who tried did not have the right qualifications and used the sport to pursue their own interests. The organization that had (or has) the most potential has lost the trust of the athletes in the early years with big promises.
How can an international association be protected from competition?
That was one of my big questions. How do you protect yourself from competition and prevent a power struggle (see SUP) for the sport? Unfortunately, according to Jörgen, this is not possible. The only association that is internationally protected is FIFA. So there is nobody who can forbid you to call your own world championships in a sport except soccer. (Fussball)
According to Jörgen Vogt, the only way to do this is to create facts. In that sense, that means organizing events, good PR and the membership of athletes and so on.
The only association that could intervene to the disadvantage of the GWA is the World Sailing Association. Jörgen Vogt knows structures very well and tells me that they are already in contact with the association. But they (Sailing People) are not yet sure if they want to manage Wingsports. Processes take a long time and have to go through different committees. There is the IOC with the international umbrella associations, which in turn have many national associations under them and each association wants to expand its own power. (as we know….) So the whole thing becomes political very quickly, but “World Sailing” has an offshoot in every country and often money from the tourism industry flows into the associations and their events. We know this from the ISA, whose championships always take place in places where the authorities have an interest in making their region known as a destination for the sport. This means that if World Sailing would have something against it, it could be made sure that the organizer would not receive any permits and funds. That is why the GWA is already in touch with World Sailing. Jörgen and his team think very far ahead.
Natürlich denkt man bei der GWA auch über eine World Tour nach und ist auch schon in der Planung. Die Tour soll aus vielen regionalen Events bestehen mit einer großen Weltmeisterschaft am Ende des Jahres. Somit müssen die Athleten nicht das ganze Jahr für teures Geld über den Erdball reisen. Auch hier haben wir ein Beispiel aus der SUP Welt, als Chris Parker und Kelly Margetts die Paddle League starteten. Es ging darum regionale SUP Rennen zu promoten. Das Ganze dauerte knappe zwei Jahre, dann war die Luft weg.
Of course, the GWA is also thinking about a world tour and is already in the planning stage. The tour will consist of many regional events with a big world championship at the end of the year. This way the athletes don’t have to travel around the world all year. Again we have an example from the SUP world when Chris Parker and Kelly Margetts started the Paddle League. It was all about promoting regional SUP races. The whole thing lasted for about two years and then ran out of steam.
The gold-digger mood is definitely justified, my only objection is that foiling is very difficult to learn and the risk of injury is high. Here, however, Jörgen Vogt has objections that are definitely justified:
The potential of Wingsports is astronomical. Jörgen Vogt even thinks that 50% of the potential of the sport is on land. Imagine wing snowboarding or even skateboarding longboards and dirtboards. Lastly, the GWA is called “Wingsports” and not “Wingoiling Assocciation”. I also learned that many kite schools switch to winging because of the risk of injury. (Obviously kiting is more dangerous than wingfoiling.) The threshold to start with wingfoiling is much lower than with kiting and windsurfing. After all, I learned to wing on the SUP before I dared to go on the foil.
In conclusion, after talking to Jörgen I was a lot smarter than before. It was confirmed to me why we have a mess in SUP sport and how it could have been prevented. I am also very enthusiastic about the Wingsports and am happy to report about milestones and important events in the sport.
We will stay on top of it this is the Website of the GWA.
SUP Talk on the topic: